Ruth Ansel

Magazine work by Ruth Ansel, who was co-art director of Harper's Bazaar in the 1960's (one of the youngest art directors in the history of magazines), and design director of The New York Times Magazine, Vanity Fair and Vogue.

Swedish studio Hjarta Smarta released a series of books on legendary female creatives called "Hall of Femmes." The first in the series is on Ruth Ansel, whose work I was unfamiliar with until recently. The series aims to "bring female graphic designers and art directors into the spotlight," which is something we could use a little more of (this has been on my mind, especially with all the recent discussion about women in design).

(Here are some excerpts from an interview with her, published in 2005, Step magazine)

On women in the design workplace:
"More women are in the workplace but they’re not getting comparable recognition or salaries with their male peers. Women are still working in a man’s world. It is especially difficult for an independent outsider type of woman, whether she is a graphic designer, an architect, or an interior designer, to really achieve a top position, even if she is an exceptional talent. Think of Eileen Gray, and how she spent most of her life having her work ignored, while her famous collaborator, Le Corbusier was celebrated worldwide. She did not become famous until shortly before she died in 1976. I admit I had never heard of her until then as well. There are certainly more talented women out there, more than men I believe, but I still think the glass ceiling exists and they get discouraged."

On magazine design:
"Unpredictability is a gift, especially in creative hands. Designing a magazine is a little like designing a face. No two faces are alike but each has the same essential structure—two eyes, a nose, and a mouth. Each magazine, even each advertising campaign, pretty much has the same ingredients. Whether it’s fashion, beauty and accessories, or home, architecture, and lifestyle, what you must do is constantly rearrange and reinvent the relationships, pay attention to the content and context, pay attention to the time you live in, pay attention to what is newly creative and who is creating it. If you do that it will work and live on as good design."

1 comment:

Carolynn Cecilia said...

I would love a large print of the woman in the alligator mouth!